Long­time Bay­crest em­ployee fosters the arts

Bayview Post - - News -

A new pro­gram at North York’s Bay­crest Health Sciences is us­ing vis­ual arts to help pa­tients with de­men­tia and their care­givers cre­ate more mean­ing­ful con­nec­tions.

Melissa Talfer has been work­ing at Bay­crest since 1999 as a clin­i­cal so­cial worker, but five years ago, she moved into a role that in­cor­po­rates the arts into health care.

“I have al­ways been cu­ri­ous about the role the arts has on pa­tient and care­giver sup­port,” said Talfer.

Talfer came to­gether with a num­ber mul­ti­dis­ci­plinary teams at Bay­crest, in­clud­ing so­cial work­ers and an artist who leads the ac­tiv­i­ties. Ev­ery week pa­tients par­tic­i­pate in an art class while their spouses take part in a care­giver sup­port group. The cou­ples re­unite at the end of the ses­sion to work to­gether on var­i­ous art projects.

“Through this pro­gram, [the cou­ples] are work­ing to­gether as two learn­ers. The dy­namic is dif­fer­ent than when [the spouses are] in their tra­di­tional care­giver role.”

The first run of the 10-week pro­gram ended in Jan­uary with an art in­stal­la­tion, called A Road To Con­nec­tion, which show­cased the art made by the par­tic­i­pants. As the pro­gram con­tin­ues, data will be col­lected and an­a­lysed.

Melissa Talfer

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